Friday, April 29, 2011

I Will Still Like "Me"

It wasn’t too long ago when all I wanted to do was hide from the world. I wanted to disappear where nobody could find me. I did it because too many people disappointed me. I developed this irrational, unhealthy fear of people, more so because of their actions and most of all, because of their possible rejection. It didn’t matter if it was work related or in my social life - I feared people. As I've said in previous posts, I pushed people away. I kept friends at arm’s length. I didn’t trust anyone. Then one day I finally realized that there are way too many people to hide from. Just because a select few had disappointed me, insulted me, or perhaps rejected me - I felt the same thing would run its course again, and I would get hurt as a result. I then brushed myself off and started to let people in again, this time fully acknowledging that “this person” may do the same thing to me as “that person”. But, most importantly: they’re not the same people. The circumstances, the situations are all completely different. I had to accept that.

Looking back when I had this fear of people due to past disappointments, I wasn’t secure with myself. In fact, I want to even say that I didn’t even like myself very much. I was verbally abused by someone very close to me a few years back - so much, that I actually thought the words she used were all true. All her accusations and insults had to be the truth. I started the process of self-deprecation and it took me more than three years to get out of that miserable funk. That’s a long time to not like yourself. It showed in my work and it also showed in the way I treated other people. I became bitter, indifferent, numb - all the things I didn’t like about a person were transfered straight into me. From my own experience and the admissions of others, our actions speak loudly about our past. I began to realize that what other people do to us is another form of expressing what has happened to them in the past. Are we all conditioned to respond to things in life due to what others have done to us? Is it a self-defense mechanism or is it entirely outside of past experiences?

I’ve heard that in life, you have to take chances. You have to give the benefit of the doubt to people when you think you’re going to be disappointed...yet again. But, is it such a bad thing to safeguard your heart, your well-being, just because you have suffered someone else’s rage against you? Just the fact that I was keeping people at bay, it was another form of unforgiveness. It was an excuse to say, “I haven’t forgiven my past, so I’m not letting you in.” People can say ‘I forgive you’ all day long, but actions speak much louder than words. You can’t forgive someone and then take it out on somebody else in an indirect way. It’s human nature to feel hurt, betrayed and rejected by other people, but should we hold onto that just in case we have to defend ourselves for the next ride around the mountain with somebody else who has nothing to do with the previous offense? I don’t want to remain bitter. I want to like myself, enough so that when I say “I forgive you” - I’m letting you and other people in again. And if by chance I get rejected, hurt or betrayed, then so be it. I will still like “me”.


"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." ~Lewis B. Smedes

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Writing Ingredients: Every Single Drop of Your Vulnerability

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter (or computer) and open a vein.” ~Walter Wellesley

Strangely enough, I had a few people ask me about writing within the last couple of weeks. They wanted to know a few things: between how to get started, creating a blog, writing a book and even if there were writers out there who would write for them. I was surprised at the last one because I know for myself, I can’t let other people take the wheel, even if I say, “Make a left hand turn.” I’m always the driver, so I have a hard time relating to that one. The people I spoke with all seem to want to go from zero to sixty in 3.5 seconds. Writing isn’t an instant job with dollar signs to be seen right away, unless you went to college for journalism and landed the ideal job at a well known media source. I didn’t see a dime for three years while writing. The first thing I ever wrote was my book, A Prayer Away From Healing. Then it was advised by the publishing house I that went through to create a blog. I didn’t do it because it was advised, I did it because I had a passion for writing - more so sharing my thoughts, myself, my life with the world for those who wanted to read or, could possibly relate.

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” ~Anais Nin

Whatever topic you’re going to write about - you are putting yourself out there. Whether it be about politics, religion, gardening or just your everyday life - you will be judged and called out on your outlook on everything - your opinions and sometimes, even your writing style. No matter what, you have to have a thick skin. Put aside the grammatical aspects of it: writing is the hardest thing to do if you’re not the type of person who likes to ‘put it all out there’. There are some people I know who like the gray area of writing: poetry. You have to decipher it, and perhaps put the words together to form your own meaning, while they at times, have a whole different side of the story. It’s one of the many reasons why I love to read poetry. If it’s too wordy and incomprehensible -I’m out. I don’t want to work extra hard to find out what the author is ‘really’ talking about. Perfect quote for that is, “A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. the other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.” ~Charles Peguy

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~Sylvia Plath (One of my favorite poet and story writers.)

Self-doubt is a killer to writing...no doubt. But sometimes the humbleness of ‘self-doubt’, can be seen through their words, as long as they are vulnerable enough. The saddest thing to see is a writer set up their website or blog, type their hearts away while many people read their work, and then they delete their account due to self-doubt. “Well nobody’s commenting on my blog.” I have seen blogs that had a meter count of 100,000 readers per day with little to no commenting. Your comment section is not the be-all end-all. Write for “you” -first and foremost. Also, you want quality traffic, instead of people falling onto your blog by mistake of a keyword that you used improperly. They also say that your title is very important to web crawlers. I agree, but sometimes, I like my title to be little vague. That’s just my personal spin on it. Regardless of how you get readers, when you’re a first time blogger, it’s important to network with others alike instead of hoping for people to read your work. There is a lot of effort in writing, blogging, and especially, writing a book. It’s not as easy as it sounds. When you have a passion for anything in life, in this case, writing - do it for the love of it, and then the money will follow...if you’re lucky. People can sense when others don’t have a passion for writing. It’s in their tone, their words, their lack of enthusiasm just to plug something out there. So if you’re looking to make a quick dollar out of writing, forget about it. It takes time, dedication, and every single drop of your vulnerability.

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Other Side of Crazy

In one of my previous posts, I was talking about a book I’m now reading called, Anxiety Free by Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., and within a few pages, I found myself getting more anxiety as they spoke about the long-term effects of anxiety: heart disease, stroke, aneurysms and so on and so on. Anyone with anxiety disorder certainly doesn’t want to hear about those side effects. In fact, most people with anxiety disorder always looks at the side effects of each medication they take - even if it’s just Tylenol. We fear any chemical that’ll possibly harm us, yet we reach for the very thing that may just destroy some of us for relief: alcohol. It’s a total contradiction to rely on alcohol and sedatives and be afraid of medications such as antidepressants, right? For me, I’m against antidepressants because their side effects are more alarming than the actual “good effects” of the meds. Have you ever seen one of their commercials for depression? There is a speaker that spews out 1,294.533.732 different side effects, and yes, death is one of them. I mean - “heart attacks, strokes, thoughts of suicide and death” is something to really think about. Give me a drink and call it a night.

Getting back to the book, Anxiety Free, I kept reading on. It gives another perspective to different lifestyles, different time pieces of how long people have been suffering with anxiety and panic disorder. In fact, since the beginning of time, anxiety has been a huge factor for many people. The author of the book sets up a scenario where he talks to “Stone Age Stanley” and realizes that there isn’t much different than what some of us go through on a daily basis today.

“Hey, Stanley, I’m Bob--and I’m new around here. Do you have some time to talk?”

“Can’t you see I’m busy? I’m in a rush. I think it’s going to rain, and I don’t have my lion skin. I mean, I could catch a cold, develop a fever. So, what’s on your mind?”

“Well, I wanted to find out a little about you.”

“Have I done something wrong? I thought I put the fire out last week--did something burn down? I try to be careful, but I can never be sure.”

“No Stanley, I wanted to find out about what your life is like.”

“My life? Well, first, I can’t sleep. Up all night. Worrying about the tigers and wolves in the forest. They tell me it’s safe around here, but I’ve heard stories that would make your hair stand on end.”

“So you have insomnia?”

“Not all the time. But it really drives me nuts. I can’t sleep--I keep telling myself, Stanley, get some sleep! you’ll be good for nothing if you don’t get some sleep.”

“Tell me, Stanley. What’s this area like?”

“Dangerous. Be careful on the bridge. I don’t know what klutz strung that thing up, but you could fall with one false step. And then try to get a doctor!”

“So, you’re afraid of heights?”


"Hey, you’d have to be an idiot not to be afraid of heights. They can kill you. And, if it’s not the falling that kills you, it’s the drowning. Last month a couple of guys who thought they were macho took some wood they strung together. They tried to float it to get to the other island. They drowned. I warned them. But, no--they thought they knew it all.”

The dialogue goes on more, but I’ll spare you. Basically this stone age guy is freaked out over everything. He also goes onto say that he’s afraid of food poisoning, getting sick, his wife and kids leaving and he fears going to certain places (agoraphobia). So, basically in the book, it describes a portion where this anxiety thing is nothing new. But why is it so prevalent in today’s society? Why are there more medications available -- or better yet -- pushed? Each time I get a consultation with a psychiatrist or social worker, they insist on pairing up my therapy with medication. I always ask, “If you’re good with cognitive behavioral therapy, then why would you have to pair me up with medication?" It doesn’t make sense to me. One should be used before the other. The natural way should always be tried before reaching for the chemically altered one. But therapists try to push push push and I always say no no no. When they get persistent I ask, “How much of a kickback are you getting from this one?” Or I’ll just ask for another brand name and then they get all panicky themselves, which only means one thing: LESS MONEY.

Since my insurance doesn’t cover much of that side of the medical field, they tend to not want to take me in. They say, “Oh we’re booked,” or as one doctor said, “We can work on a sliding scale basis, how’s $260 an hour for you?” ....Really? I mean, granted our mental and physical health is very important, but how important is it to doctors?

On February 4th, a reader who went under “anonymous” left me a comment about this topic on this previous post called, “Sliding Scale”.

“I came across your blog because I am a psychiatrist setting up a nonprofit psychiatric center and I am trying to answer the question with my board of directors of exactly how to set the sliding scale. While I appreciate your feelings about the mental health care providers having the power over the sliding scale, I have to tell you that we are just people many of us with student loan debt over $100,000USD. Psychiatry is very poorly reimbursed by insurance companies that is why most of us have no office staff unless we run medication check mills. Insurance companies trying to make health care a for profit endeavor when they are not providing any actual health care or benefits to patients is the problem. Doctors, nurses, and therapists, and patients are not the problem.”

While I sympathize with this doctor’s dilemma, I also have to wonder that if they lowered their rates on psychotherapy, then wouldn’t it be beneficial that people can actually afford it, therefore bringing in more patients? The more patients you have, the more money it will cover the loss of what the insurance doesn’t want to pay them. Doesn’t that make more sense? There are so many people out there, like myself, who need this type of help. There are people worse off than I am who don’t go, because they can’t afford it and can’t find a doctor to accept them. They have to go to these pill pushing idiots who rush them in for ten minutes and then kick them out with a script in hand. There is no compassion in this field whatsoever and it’s alarming to find more and more doctors getting the thousand yard stare. I went to a social worker/therapist who doesn’t prescribe scripts, yet this woman was so nasty and I want to even say, very insulting, that I got up from her couch and asked her where the hell she got her degree. She just stared at me with this blank ‘I don’t give a rat’s ass about you’ look and said, “I see that you’re angry. Why is that?” So if she’s going to be that stupid, I’m just going to seek out self-help books and try this on my own. Of course, the prescription of a Ketel One martini is definitely in order.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crazy Talk

Ever notice how much people strive to be “normal” - less crazy - less neurotic - less fanatical about everything and nothing at all? And, if those people are in fact, “crazy”, or perhaps a bit 'off' - they pretend to be normal. What is normal? What is acceptable? How much off the handle do we have to get in order for people to say that we're out of our flippin' minds? But “crazy” has been thrown around too freely. For instance, every single one of you probably has a “crazy ex”, right? We’ve probably even heard that about ourselves as well. But what makes someone “crazy”? What makes someone “normal”? If we can define them so precisely; so accurately, maybe being crazy isn’t such a bad thing at all. Maybe, being crazy means you have more passion for life, more passion for people, more passion about every single thing you encounter. Crazy people feel everything and aren’t afraid to let it show. In fact, the person in denial about being crazy will go off the handle if called crazy. If they’re “normal”, they’d probably have enough sensibility and restraint to just shrug it off. ...Or would they?

"Normal" doesn't necessarily mean "intelligent".

I’ve always believed that there is a fine line between insanity and intelligence. The most intelligent people I have ever met were all a bit off their rocker. They were interesting, unconventional and so much fun to be around. Some of my close friends are stand up comedians. Some of them are over the age of 40, and yet they have the ability and confidence to act like a child, only for the sake of making others laugh. They say things other people only dare to think. They’re crazy, that’s why I love them. They dare to be different - beyond the norm - beyond what society deems as “acceptable”. Look at Robin Williams. He’s insane. Most of us love him. The one person I find most daring in their comfort of insanity is Jessica Kirson. If you’ve never been to one of her shows or have seen her on Last Comic Standing or TV - you have to watch the video below. In fact, you should just go right over to her Youtube account - you’ll be on there all day. The woman. is. completely. insane and making people laugh till they cry. She’s truly heaven sent. Comics have to be intelligent in order to maintain the insane. You just can’t be stupid and funny at the same time. There’s a level of ingenious planning that goes behind this madness. Take a look at Jessica's video below.


Please click here if you cannot view the video.

What about predictability? What about the lack thereof? My wife always asks, “Am I that predictable?” It’s usually after I finish her sentence, but that’s only because we’ve known each other for sixteen years. The unpredictability is what makes our relationship last. If it was the same ol’ thing every single fricken day, I’d be bored beyond belief...and so would she. Unpredictability is also seen as “crazy”. I used to feel down about being different - being too passionate about everything - being way too neurotic about this, that & the other thing and over-obsessing about the smallest of things. But now, as I’ve grown older, I’m realizing that a little dose of craziness is just what the doctor ordered.

"Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy." ~Thelonious Monk

"Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance." ~Author Unknown

How crazy are you? Or are you just...normal?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting in the Wings

All we need is some time to reflect on the things that made us happy at some point in our lives. All we need is less time to obsess over things that had come to an end. And sometimes, we need even lesser amounts of time to figure out why they have come to an end. As a result, those “happy times” become more of a facade; an illusion, and perhaps a prelude to the end. If hindsight is 20/20, then why do we sometimes repeat the same pattern? If doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is defined as “insanity” by Einstein, is it because we want to get it right the next time around? Is it because we want to improve on our mistakes? Is it so bad to go around the mountain once again, but with someone new, or with a different job but same line of work, as well as pursuing that dream that never fully comes into fruition? When will we “get it”, or do we have to realize that we’re not going to get it? Some people would call that giving up on your dreams. Others would say that we’ve finally come to our senses. All of these good-natured suggestions are enough to make your head spin.

What about on and off relationships? When does it come to the point of realizing that it’s not meant to be, or that they’re doomed to be together for life? Who’s to say what’s right or what’s wrong? Maybe it works for the two people. Maybe the “on and off cycle” is what keeps them in love, and maybe, it’s those ‘time outs’ that they need in order to rekindle that everlasting flame. Think about it: couples who seem to be on and off usually have more passion than a couple who has been together the same amount of time with no “offs”. Do we need the excitement of “oh dear God he/she’s gone” in order to appreciate them more? They say you never know what you got until it’s gone... But I wonder, if we truly know what we really want, wouldn’t we hold onto it without a chance of ever letting go? Or is letting go the one thing that brings love back? I’m reminded of a quote that speaks volumes: “An open rebuke is better than hidden love.” ~Proverbs 27:5 When we let go, we have to do it for the good and not to teach someone a lesson. Usually, tactics like that backfire.

I’ve come to realize that when pursuing anything, whether love, friendship, career, happiness or anything else in life, I have to let go if need be. I have to stop being the control freak that I am. I have to stop being super critical of my own work, on my own efforts, on my own life. With the increased control that I tried to gain, my nights of insomnia and nocturnal panic attacks had risen to its peak. Slowly, my obsessive thought patterns are lessening, but it’s still a work in progress. I have to remind myself, if I don’t get what I want - it’s okay. Whenever I hold on tightly to anything - it slips right through my fingers. I truly believe that’s one of the biggest reasons I have been suffering with my work. I needed that control. The more control I tried to rein in, the more anxiety and depression struck me down. The less control I have, the less disappointments there will be, and the less suffocating effects I may have on other people in my life. Letting go isn’t so bad, if you truly do it with a sincere heart and not for self-gain. Sometimes, it takes a long while before it kicks in, but it does. Lessons learned with peace waiting in the wings.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Irrationally Rationalizing Absolutely Nothing

It’s been years since it’s been this bad. Although morphed into a different form from one year to the next, it’s still the same underlining fear of...nothing. Or is it something? I’ve had panic disorder since I was sixteen years old. I should be used to it by now...but I’m so not. Each time is like my first time. Each time it debilitates me into a fumbling mess, whether it materializes into immediate panic, where I have to grab a paper bag and breathe, or in some cases, it wakes me up with terror. I’ve recently started developing nocturnal panic attacks, where it jolts me out of a deep sleep. The pain is real - chest/jaw pain that radiates all the way down my left arm. So, I pop an aspirin. Any “normal” person would immediately think “heart attack” - but each and every single fricken time I got to the emergency room, it’s just a panic attack. EKG is normal. Blood tests are fine. “Go home & take these to relax.” It then makes me afraid to sleep at night. I’m terrified of my bedroom. It’s a torture chamber. So, I go 2, 3 or 4 days without sleep. When the tense anxiety strikes, depression always follows it. Whether or not it’s rational fear of ‘something’ or just underlining emotions that I’m not dealing with - it’s something that I now know I have to learn to adapt with.

One of the terrible things about panic disorder is avoidance. It can range from people, places or things. There are times when I have all intentions of keeping a date with friends and family or other appointments. If it’s a day where my anxiety takes full control, don’t count on me being there. Also, there are only certain stores I will go into. There are three major supermarkets around my neighborhood. I only go to one of them, because it’s small, and unfortunately, it’s much more expensive. I pay more to keep my anxiety in check. I do go through good phases and actually surprise myself: go to the stores I fear, drive further than my “limits” allow me to or even attend social functions I’ve feared about. I end up feeling accomplished, and usually have a great time. What was I so afraid of? My father used to ask me, “What’s anxiety? I don’t get it. What are you afraid of?” And now, unfortunately he is experiencing so much anxiety from what he’s going through, that now it’s become panic attacks, instead of just “fear”. His is through circumstantial, but it’s so strange for me to see him, out of all people, the bravest man in the world, suffer with anxiety.

I’ve tried finding a therapist who is trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), however they’re either all booked up or they are out of my ‘limits’ of driving. The one psychiatrist that I go to once a month is wonderful to talk to, but unfortunately he doesn’t do any of the relaxation techniques or CBT that I need to get. He is, however, a great person to get real advice from. He’s unconventional, to where he may or may not be permitted to give such advice, but his way of thinking is absolutely ingenious. He’s like a mad scientist in a business suit. It definitely helps, but I need more. I trekked over to Barnes & Nobles and bought a book called, Anxiety Free by Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., and some of it I have to say, gives me anxiety reading it. He states that most people with anxiety disorder most likely develop heart disease, aneurysms and other illnesses. Great. Whenever I try to ‘self-help’ - I end up sabotaging myself. So much for reading up on what’s ailing you. I thought it would be a positive step.

Another thing that really pisses me off or, should actually be considered a compliment, is that most people, especially therapists think “I got it all together”. I don’t know how to take that, because usually, the therapists never take me seriously. They just write it off as “generalized anxiety”. Well hello - most everyone has that. We’re talking an extreme case where I stop functioning altogether. My work has come to a complete halt lately. I haven’t been able to write, I haven’t been able to put together any of my projects and I certainly haven’t been able to feel normal in quite some time now. I don’t want to rely on alcohol or sedatives that’ll calm me, but that’s all I have right now. I exercise 4-5 times per week, vigorous cardio too, and sometimes after the workout, I feel worse.

How can I feel normal or “okay” if I get every symptom that mimics a heart attack? I can’t go to the hospital three times a week. In fact, I’ve been to the hospital so many times this year, that they know me on a first name basis. And if there is a doctor on duty that isn’t his shift, I always get, “Don’t I know you?” We joke about it a lot, but deep inside, it’s so embarrassing. I’ve spoken about this on my blog before, but today, it feels different. It feels so much worse. I have even thought about quitting writing altogether. I have nothing left. I’m too scared to even write. I’m too scared to do anything at all. And the more I try to rationalize it, the more fear I develop about absolutely nothing.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Just Another Thirty Years...

Ever since my dad was diagnosed with cancer, he’s been getting radiation treatments from Monday through Friday. They wear him out. He goes in for a few minute at a time and when he comes back home, he sleeps most of the day. His appetite is next to none. He has lost over thirty pounds so far and has completely stopped smoking. He says cigarettes disgust him...(a prayer I prayed a week before he quit mind you.) I prayed that somehow, some way, he would pick up a cigarette and be entirely disgusted to where he would never pick one up again. Now it’s my mother he’s concerned about. We’re all concerned about her. While dad sits inside the waiting room of the clinic to get radiation, he is considered one of the ‘light cases’ there - while others are worse off, some with tumors on their hearts which are inoperable, and others with throat cancer due to smoking. For the first time in my father’s life, he actually sees what smoking can really do to people. For the first time in my father’s life, he’s now asking people around him to stop smoking. I never thought I’d see this day. I recall just a few weeks ago, I had written a post about being angry at my father for continuing to smoke. Since he has stopped, he can now move around better and has more energy due to increased oxygen levels. It’s amazing.

My mom’s been taking care of my dad - trying to cook, clean, and help him with whatever he needs. Since he hasn’t been eating much, her joy in life - her hobby, cooking has come to a bit of a halt. So now, her hobby has been replaced with smoking...much more. She’s stressed, and whenever mom is stressed, she cooks...and cooks...and then cooks some more. Whether it’s cooking for an army or not - the amount is the same. But now, her hobby has somewhat stopped and smoking has now taken its place. Sometimes, I’ll make extra for dinner and run over there with food or buy them sandwiches - whichever they prefer. But mom’s bored. Her highlight of the day is going to the radiation treatments with dad so she can socialize with people in the waiting room. Although that seems ‘grim’ - she actually helps them - talks to them and encourages them. She gives them a glimmer of hope. They walk in sad and hopeless, and walks back out feeling inspired somwhat. She tells me funny stories that happen in there - the lighter side of what goes on in a chemo/radiation clinics. It’s interesting what these people go through. She also tells me the sad part about it - some young, some older, some with nobody home to take care of them. Some already know the ‘time limit’ of their very own lives, while others are encouraged that the treatments will in fact, be the cure.

Yesterday afternoon, I asked my mom if she wanted to go out for lunch. I was expecting a “no”, since she doesn’t like to leave my father at all, but dad was like, “Go, I’m gonna sleep for a while.” We went to our favorite place, and I know she secretly loves to sit at the bar and eat - so I said, “Mom, do you mind if we sit at the bar?” Her eyes lit up with excitement. She loves to talk to people. Everyone she meets seems to gravitate toward her. She ordered her vodka and tonic & a turkey panini. She looked like a little girl sitting at the bar, smiling from ear-to-ear, clenching her arms together with new excitement that I haven’t seen in such a long time. She started talking about grandpa’s bar from way back when and then told me things about her childhood that I never knew about. After she was done eating, she placed her hand on mine and said, “Deb, please pray that I’m able to quit smoking like you did for dad?” She was sincere, but I knew right then and there, she was craving a cigarette. I know addiction is a hard thing to kick, but her eyes told me something different. As we walked outside the restaurant, there’s a section near the deck where people smoke. I gave in and said, “Ma, if you want a cigarette, go ‘head. It’s nice out anyway.” She fumbled through her enormous pocketbook for a long time with her cigarette dangling from her mouth, realizing that she didn’t have a match or lighter to fire it up with. I knew I could have gotten one at the bar, but I didn’t say anything. “It’s alright, I’ve gone all day without one.”

“I dun’ care if ya smoke right in frun' of me - I can’t stand da’ stuff anymore. Ya mudda’ needs to stop smokin’ - I’m worried ‘bout her kid,” my dad said when we got back home. But not only for the sake of just being supportive for my dad, I pray that my mother quits smoking so that she doesn’t have to go through medical treatments due to this awful habit. She’s fine now, but so was my father one year ago. I just wish it would finally sink in. I wish she would look at her surroundings and realize what smoking can really do to her. The cough she has is awful. Her lungs are clearly...not clear. I know this probably sounds really selfish, but I want my parents around for another thirty years. They’re too much fun. If all of my friends & readers can be kind enough to say a prayer that my mom quits smoking, I’ll be forever grateful. I believe prayer is very powerful and I know, that within weeks, I’ll be posting an article about mom finally quitting. I just want another thirty years.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Natural Born Liar

One of my first experiences with things becoming inconsistent was my childhood upbringing. From being raised to ‘do the right thing’ from watching my parents getting taken away by the FBI at a very young age. At first I was infuriated that I had been lied to all my life, but then I realized how human my parents actually were. They did everything to provide a home for their family, even if . . . Although my trust for people dwindled a tad, my ability to forgive them was quite easy to do. They were like me. They lied to keep things calm. I lied to them about my whereabouts or if I had gone out drinking with my friends. “No mom, I didn’t drink. ...I didn’t smoke.” I lied. I was inconsistent. My mom was always quick to forgive me, even when she caught me with a cigarette dangling from my lying mouth or found a slew of beer cans stashed away in a big bag behind my bureau. My friends were always envious that I never got a “real” punishment. The most my mom would do was pull my private telephone in my bedroom out for maybe three days or so. I always had another cheap telephone to plug in after she left, with what she thought was the only one. I outsmarted her, until the phone bill came and she realized there were phone calls made on the dates she had taken mine out. Busted.

I’m a natural born liar. I lied to my sisters. I used to pretend to check out “hot guys” at the mall, when in actuality, I was staring at the girl behind the counter with the long blonde hair serving us at Orange Julius. My sisters would chuckle to see their youngest sister taking a newfound interest with boys finally. I couldn’t come to grips with 'coming out' just yet. I had to be “normal” and plus, I didn’t know anyone who was a lesbian, or even bisexual for that matter. It was a huge faux pas and mocked on a consistent basis in my school. It was seen as “gross”, “disgusting” and also seen as “the girl who can’t get a date with a guy becomes a lesbian”. I even went as far to date guys just to hide who I really was. Back then and perhaps due to being naive and young, saying “I love you” was very common if you were dating someone just a little over a week. You were “supposed” to say that. “I love you” was something you said to your boyfriend. I said it. ...I lied. I was inconsistent after two weeks when I broke up with him, explaining that I no longer had feelings for him anymore. If you do that as an adult, you’re questioned about your consistency - how your feelings can change so quickly. If you felt something for someone one day, what makes it different two weeks later?

We lie.

We lie to make other people feel better sometimes. We lie to keep the peace. We lie for the ‘better’. If someone says they don’t ever lie, even the smallest of white lies, in my opinion, they’re lying. While watching House last night, House asked his medical intern (who had way too many morals for him), why she wouldn’t lie to save someone else’s life, but she would lie to her grandmother about loving the blouse she bought her for Christmas. I know there’s a huge difference in plain ol’ white lies and deceitfulness. One type is to make someone feel good or perhaps “keep the peace”, and the other can be very damaging. What about keeping things from someone? This one I have trouble deciphering which is worse. What if someone was keeping an untold secret? You’d probably say, “Well that depends.” But, what if someone was holding in a secret, that if told openly, could ruin somebody else's life? Is that considered a lie as well? Or is that just ‘staying out of someone’s business’? Typical trivia question: If you saw your best friend’s husband out with another woman, would you tell her? Or, if you knew the pastor of the church had a one time affair that you knew of, would you spill the beans and tell all and then watch his fate with the church crumble to the ground? I do believe when we lie about someone in order to “look better”, karma is a real bitch. When we lie to gain the upper hand on somebody else or step on other people’s toes to get from point A. to point B., we end up tripping on our own feet in the end. The truth always wins. And those “untold secrets” eventually come to light without us even saying one word. That, I truly believe.

So whether you were brought up being lied to, or being a natural born liar yourself, just think of how many other people stretch the truth - those who are just like us - those who know how to save face when it comes to push and shove. Those who call in sick when they actually are sleep deprived. Those who say you look good, when you really look like a bag of laundry. Those who tell you “it’s no big deal”, when it actually is to them. And perhaps, those who tell you they love you, when they really don’t. When does it come to the point, when those little white lies become a destructive part of your everyday life? When do our own lies become our truth? When do we all finally realize that most of us, or perhaps all of us, are natural born liars?

"I don't mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy." ~Samuel Butler

"Lying is done with words, and also with silence." ~Adrienne Rich

"A half truth is a whole lie." ~Yiddish Proverb

"Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind." ~Austin O'Malley

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com